- An Ember analysis claims Turkey was able to save $7 billion in the last 12 months with wind and solar power generation
- In the absence of wind and solar power plants, Turkey would have had to resort to underutilized gas-fired or coal power plants relying on imports
- Country should make efforts to further expand renewable energy capacity with right policies and more auctions
- If the gas prices continue to remain at elevated levels, Turkey can expect to save as much as $700 million per month in the near future
Even as Turkey battles high fossil fuel prices like the rest of Europe, wind and solar power generation helped the country to dramatically lower its fossil fuel imports, saving it $7 billion in the last 12 months, according to an analysis by energy and climate think tank Ember.
Specifically, wind power plants generated 32.2 TWh between May 2021 and April 2022 saving $5 billion in import savings, while 14.1 TWh solar power plants accounted for $2 billion with 86% represented by unlicensed solar power plants.
“Assuming that all 46.3 TWh power was generated by gas-fired plants, this would mean wind and solar power replaced $7 billion extra gas imports during that 12-month period,” it explains in the report Turkey: Wind and Solar saved $7 bn in 12 months that was released in late May 2022.
Analysts argue that without wind and solar, electricity bills in the country would have been higher as ‘underutilized gas-fired plants or coal power plants relying on imports would have had to run in order to compensate for them’.
For reference, Ember says in Q1/2021 as the world was emerging out of COVID-19 impacts, international gas prices hovered around $20 per MWh to $25 per MWh, which escalating to an average of over $90 per MWh in September 2021. To deal with this, Turkey has capped natural gas tariff for power generators at $65 per MWh.
Electricity and Climate Data Analyst with Ember, Ufuk Alparslan suggests that energy crisis needs quick solutions as solar power that can be deployed very fast while stressing that right policy can further help accelerate renewables.
“After the end of feed-in tariff, the free market and the auctions will be the main routes towards new renewable deployments in Turkey. However, the capacities reserved for wind and solar power need to be scaled up dramatically and the market interventions damaging the investment appetite in the country should be avoided,” added Alparslan.
Ember counts feed-in-tariff (FIT), auctions and free market as the main driving forces for wind and solar investments in Turkey at present. The generous renewable FIT ended in July 2021, however since wind and solar are already the cheapest source of generating power here, ‘similar subsidies should not be needed to incentivize future investments’.
Citing tremendous interest in recent renewable energy auctions, Ember recommends the country to scale up such auctions and reserved capacities for wind and solar power to bring online cheap, local and clean power supply.
Going forward, if the gas prices remain elevated Ember expects wind and solar to help the country save approximately $700 million every month.
Complete report is available on the website of Ember for free download.